A constant sandstorm didn’t stop thousands of fans from enjoying the diverse cast of performers appearing on Coachella’s busiest day. Unlike the sometimes chaotic first day of the festival, the Saturday installment went much more smoothly. From Billie Eilish’s stellar headlining debut to a career-spanning ensemble from Danny Elfman, here’s what stood out the most when we got it all figured out.
Billie Eilish owns her historic Coachella moment
Just three years after bringing the world of When we all fall asleep, where do we go? at Coachella, Eilish returned to the desert on Saturday with first place – and delivered a performance characterized by the prowess of an industry veteran but with the humility of a 20-year-old who has just achieved the one of his dreams. “It’s been a fucking journey,” she told the audience with a laugh, as she made history as Coachella’s youngest headliner. “What the fuck is this.”
Eilish spent most of her set in the crowd – using the catwalk and an accompanying crane for most of the show as she belted out her songs’ lyrics and turned Coachella into a happier than ever haven. No one in the crowd had a bad view of the singer.
Eilish’s set list mirrored that of her recent world tour, as she introduced the massive Coachella to her shows’ three key rules: “No. 1 rule, don’t be an asshole. No. 2, you have no right to judge anyone here. And #3, have fun, bitch.
Throughout the show, she was joined by her brother Finneas. The two shared a sweet moment as they performed touching acoustic renditions of “I Love You” and “Your Power.”
She also welcomes unexpected guests. Khalid surprised audiences when he joined Eilish on “Lovely,” one of the singer’s most notable collaborations. As on the recorded version, the voices of the two pairs complement each other perfectly. Many of Eilish’s fans shared a confused look, while older fans smiled in excitement as Damon Albarn joined her on stage for “Growing Older” and Gorillaz hit “Feel Good Inc.” Even though Albarn missed a lyric or two, the Britpop veteran’s appearance – whom Eilish has named as one of her biggest inspirations – was a sweet addition to an already memorable ensemble. “It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced,” she said. “What the fuck? Where do I go from here? Man. I’m sorry? Gorillaz. Please? Please make some noise for them man …I feel like I’m dying.
Eilish ended her set with a silly dance-filled performance of “Bad Guy” before wowing the crowd with the emotional “Happier Than Ever.” (Whoever made Billie hate this town, you suck.) Celebrity friends including Justin Bieber, Timothee Chalamet, Pabllo Vittar, Bretman Rock and James Corden were spotted playing in the crowd.
Megan throws shade
Megan Thee Stallion previewed a new song near the end of her Saturday night set titled “You’s a Bitch,” a rare diss track during an otherwise infectious and laid-back Coachella debut set for the rapper. Meg throws no punches in the song, expressing her regrets that she ever slept with the man the song is aimed at and, of course, calling him a bitch. It’s not immediately clear who she’s roasting, though we have a few guesses…
Beyond the new track, Meg delivered a solid and hugely fun set — even without the guest appearances fans might have expected for a Coachella show — getting everyone dancing and thanking her hotties for their performance. ongoing support.
More horn sections, please
Artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, Harry Styles and Japanese Breakfast have accented their Coachella sets with trumpets and saxophones, bringing extra flair and warmth to their mixes. Bridgers included a trumpet for “Kyoto” during his Friday set, while JBrekkie brought out the sax several times during his Saturday appearance, including on a standout outing. Jubilee tracks “Paprika” and “Slide Tackle”. Even Danny Elfman’s set featured a killer sax solo when his orchestra played the The Simpsons theme (more on his set shortly). No complaints here if more artists start jumping on the trend.
Reunions and departures
2NE1 fans went into a frenzy when the retired girl group surprised the crowd by performing “I Am the Best” at the end of the 88rising showcase on the main stage. Meanwhile, at the Sahara tent, Brockhampton’s legion of fans had a bittersweet celebration for what could be their last time seeing the band, as the hip-hop boy band of the future hangs up after their last set at Coachella next week. (Maybe Brockhampton will release a 2NE1 and reunite at Coachella in six years?) Brockhampton fans still have something to look forward to after next week: The band tweeted on Saturday that their latest album will be released this year.
Dany Elfman makes gloriously weird debut at Coachella
Perhaps as fun as watching Danny Elfman’s performance himself was watching the crowd try to figure out what to do with it, as the performer seamlessly oscillated between his identities as Danny Elfman, founder of Oingo Boingo, and Danny Elfman, film and television composer. Metal fans had a whim over tracks from Elfman’s recent solo album big messwhile the crowd was universally stunned as he rolled out classical scores like the The Simpsons and Batman themes. It’s hard not to smile as an entire crowd happily sings “It’s Halloween” between two hip-hop sets by Megan Thee Stallion and Stromae.
“Don’t try to think about it – it’s mismatched pieces put together in a construct that logically doesn’t make sense,” Elfman said. rolling stone of its whole from his trailer several hours before the performance. “When I do performances, I like to mix everything up.
Elfman recalled that Goldenvoice chief executive Paul Tollett approached him in 2019 with the idea of an Oingo Boingo reunion. Elfman didn’t think the reunion would work, but he was inspired to see sets at Coachella that year and decided to do his own mashup of rock and orchestral music, with Tollett’s strong backing.
But even as Elfman began putting together the show, he recognized the potential difficulties that came with making such varied styles of music work together for a gig.
“I knew the purpose of the concept piece here, but did I have any doubts? Tons, mountains,” he says. “But I still kept the goal and said I would. Until you finish it and put it in the gallery, you don’t know what it’s going to be.
“At the end of tonight, I’ll be thinking, ‘That was either one of the best or worst ideas I’ve ever had in my life,'” he continues with a chuckle. The awe-inspiring set seemed to win over the crowd, and no matter how Elfman felt after the show, he’ll be doing it again next week.
All hail the Sonora tent
The Sonora tent may not host the most recognizable performers from the festival’s stacked lineup, but it’s hands down the best stage on the festival grounds. An appearance by wistful Mexican artist Ed Maverick in the dark, air-conditioned tent in the early afternoon provided an escape from the scorching heat and dusty weather of Indio.
Rina + Caroline + Pablo = Slaychella
On Saturday, LGBTQ favorites Rina Sawayama, Caroline Polachek and Pabllo Vittar took over the Gobi scene, creating a safe and inclusive space for their predominantly queer, eccentrically dressed audience (we spotted at least four jock straps in the crowd ). During her set, Rina criticized anti-LGBTQ legislation. “[They’ve] targeted queer and trans people in this country, and for some reason they don’t want us saying the word ‘gay’,” she said, drawing boos from the crowd. She then led the crowd in a chant of ‘When I say ‘say’, you say ‘gay’.
Polachek then took the stage for an ethereal set that ended with a rendition of his “Free Woman” remix. Vittar came out strong, delivering non-stop choreography in an energy-filled performance worthy of the main stage – a stadium, even. “I’m the first drag queen to perform at Coachella,” she said. “We are making history tonight.” Vittar performed tracks in Spanish and Portuguese such as Thalía’s “Tímida” and “Rajadão”, before Sawayama came out for “Follow Me”. After Vittar’s stellar set, it remains a mystery why the Brazilian music creator has yet to become an international pop star.
Stromae makes a triumphant return
High desert winds and some technical difficulties couldn’t stop Stromae from presenting a one-of-a-kind interactive presentation of his performance art on the outdoor stage. Supported by an adorable animation inspired by the singer, the Belgian mastermind chained the highlights of his new album, Multitudewith fan favorites from Square root. During an electric rendition of “Alors on Danse,” he spoke about the TikTok trend that brought back his first hit during the pandemic.